Wed, Jun 27, 2007 - Page 19 News List

New kid on the blocks says he's aiming to be `ruthless'


Craig Pickering celebrates after winning the men's 100m sprint event of the European Cup at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.


The new kid on the blocks has the look of a schoolboy, but British sprinter Craig Pickering is cultivating a ruthlessness he hopes will take him to gold in the world championships later this year in Osaka and at next year's Olympics in Beijing.

The 20-year-old still has adolescent pimples and modest stubble, but on the track he is showing a mental edge beyond his years to become British athletics' hottest property with the Beijing Olympics just a year away.

In 2005, Pickering ran a personal best 10.22 seconds in May and two months later won gold at the European Junior Championships before he was made reserve for the British 4X100m relay squad at the World Athletics Championships.

But this year he picked up a European Indoor silver medal in March and then set a new personal best on his senior outdoor debut last Saturday.

Pickering won the 100m at the European Cup in 10.15 seconds against a relatively poor field in Munich before running the second leg in the 4x100m relay as Britain won in 38.30 seconds -- equaling the fastest time in the world this season.

But under coach Malcolm Arnold, Pickering says his success is down to the tough mental edge Arnold insists on.

"I get myself really aggressive and psyched up before the start of a race," Pickering said. "You will see me pacing around the blocks and might be able to read my lips, but you'd never be able to print what I am saying."

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